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Voice of America, 00-08-02

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://>





    INTRO: U-S stock prices were mixed today (Wednesday), as many technology shares turned negative in late-day selling. VOA correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 80 points, less than one percent, to 10-thousand-687. The Standard and Poor's 500 index, a broader measure of the market, closed just about flat, gaining less than one point. Meanwhile, the technology-weighted Nasdaq composite stumbled, erasing early gains. It dropped 27 points, or three-quarters of one percent. The latest on the U-S economy shows new home sales in June were down a surprising three-point-seven percent declining for the third straight month. And the index of leading economic indicators was unchanged. The new data - suggesting an economic slowdown - spurred hope that another interest rate hike will not be necessary.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Ken Goldstein watches the numbers for the Conference Board, a private business research group. He says the economy is slowing but the overall economic picture is unclear.

    /// GOLDSTEIN ACT ///

    What isn't crystal clear is how much we have slowed down, or how much more potentially we could slow down. The suggestion here is indeed that some of the wind is gone out from underneath the wings of the economy, and perhaps a little bit more. But we're still growing.

    /// END ACT ///

    The stock market has been on a roller-coaster ride. Stocks are up one day, down the next. It all seems to depend on what the economic news of the day indicates. Analysts predict a mostly choppy market until the U-S central bank meets later this month. In other news, shares of U-S oil giant Exxon Mobil were up over three percent, after the company announced that savings from its mega-merger would be 65 percent higher than originally planned. Shares of computer-maker Dell slid more than five percent after analysts expressed concern the company will not be able to meet growth expectations because of weak demand for personal computers. (Signed) NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/KBK 02-Aug-2000 17:26 PM EDT (02-Aug-2000 2126 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: With the Republican Party presidential nominating convention in Philadelphia past its halfway point, newspaper editorial pages across America are filled with reaction to what has transpired so far. The other key topic drawing editorial attention is the turmoil in Israeli politics, as Prime Minister Ehud Barak faces more defections from his shaky coalition. Other commentaries deal with the changing political scene in Mexico, Venezuela's presidential election, and the debate on how to spend the U-S budget surplus, tax cuts or paying off the debt. Now, here is _________ with a closer look and some excerpts, in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The Republican convention is presenting the nation with a much more diversified face than ever before. Minorities are prominent among the speakers, and the entertainers, and controversy on all subjects is virtually nonexistent. However some of the big daily newspapers are still skeptical that this party, long considered the bastion of white, wealthy America, is really changing. The Augusta Chronicle, for one, is inclined to believe that change inevitable.

    VOICE: Perhaps ... G-O-P [EDS: Grand Old Party, a nickname for the Republican Party] leaders aren't faking it, but are making a serious effort to pry the rank-and-file away from its closed-minded perspectives. This could mark a historic change for the party ... This new direction ... makes sense both idealistically and pragmatically.

    TEXT: Many newspapers are focusing on an emotional speech by retired General Colin Powell, arguably the most popular African-American in the country, in which he called for a renewed commitment to affirmative action programs for minorities. The Detroit Free Press wonders:

    VOICE: What's behind the images? What's the commitment beyond winning in November? ... When he accepts the ... nomination ... Governor George Bush will have to address that reality amid all the diverse images Republicans are almost self-consciously displaying at the convention.

    TEXT: In New Hampshire, The Manchester Union Leader says of General Powell's speech: "A good man, a bad idea" noting that General Powell's own "success is due to his character and not his skin color" so: ... "why [he] clung to his support for affirmative action ... is puzzling." New Jersey's [Bergen County] Record wonders: "Will talk of diversity die with the election? While the Chicago Tribune is upset that taxpayers are contributing "a cool 13-point-five-million dollars in federal ... money to the convention. "Republicans" the Tribune says "are having a lot of fun on your dime." Tuesday night's endorsement by campaign rival Senator John McCain, was, in the words of the New York Times:

    VOICE: ... one of the most tranquilizing keynote addresses in modern convention history ... His generous but obviously unenthusiastic praise of Governor ... Bush was [an] address ... designed to ... perhaps suggest a subtext of "I shall return" if Mr. Bush falters in November.

    TEXT: Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal is impressed with the way the Republicans are enjoying themselves outside the actual convention sessions, while Atlanta's Constitution is concerned about another aspect of those parties, that big money from big business is sponsoring them with the implication that political favors are wanted in return. Says The Constitution:

    VOICE: The unregulated money flowing to the host committees of both political parties is unprecedented: at least 50-million-dollars to the G-O-P, which is 20-million dollars more than in 1996, and 35-million more to the Democrats, ten-million dollars more than four years ago.

    TEXT: The Kansas City [Missouri] Star has high praise for Governor Bush and how he has tailored the convention to his needs.

    VOICE: The smooth opening of the . gathering ... was a testimony to the organizational powers and political skills that have left ... Governor ... Bush with a good chance of moving into the White House next January.

    TEXT: The day's other favorite topic is the political turmoil in Israel as an aftermath of the Israeli- Palestinian peace talks at Camp David. Honolulu's Star-Bulletin worries:

    VOICE: The Israeli-Palestinian peace process seems in greater peril following twin blows to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in his own parliament. Both developments appeared to be a backlash from [Mr.] Barak's failure to win Yasser Arafat's acceptance of his bold concessions at Camp David. In the first setback ... his party's candidate, Shimon Peres, a former prime minister ... was defeated in the parliamentary election for president ... a stunning upset. ...Later [Mr.] Barak narrowly survived a no-confidence vote, enabling him to retain the prime ministership but with a weakened mandate.

    TEXT: The Minneapolis, Minnesota Star Tribune, however, warns against over-reacting to developments in Israel.

    VOICE: There is less than meets the eye to the new round of political chaos that has broken out in Israel since the collapse of the Camp David ... summit. ... But the office of president is largely ceremonial in Israel, and the vote is less a statement of national policy than an effort ... to humble and embarrass [Mr.] Barak. ... Despite the much-publicized breakdown at Camp David, however, the Palestinian-Israeli talks are not dead.

    TEXT: Charleston's [South Carolina] Post and Courier is upset with President Clinton's remark that he might move the U-S embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    VOICE: ... negotiations over the status of Jerusalem are fraught with danger. Speculation by President Clinton ... may be likened to lighting matches in an oil refinery.

    TEXT: Turning to Latin American affairs, The Los Angeles Times is cheering a plan by Mexican President- elect Vicente Fox to overhaul the federal police and prosecutor's offices ... and demilitarize the struggle against drug traffickers, giving the police ultimate authority. Says The L-A Times:

    VOICE: These bold proposals respond to a citizenry frustrated by soaring crime and lax application of justice. But knowing what has to be done is one thing and being able to do it is another. ... In the coming months, [Mr.] Fox needs to discuss specifically how he will attempt to curtail drug crime and clean house among the military and police.

    TEXT: Elsewhere in the region, today's New York Times is somewhat skeptical about the sweeping re-election victory of Venezuela's president, and former coup leader, Hugo Chavez.

    VOICE: The voters ... craving radical change, have reaffirmed their confidence in Hugo Chavez, a president who promises a "peaceful revolution." ... /// OPT /// Mr. Chavez is a former army paratroop colonel who served a jail term after attempting a military coup in 1992. His charisma, identification with the poor and revolutionary rhetoric won him the presidency through the ballot box instead. ... /// END OPT

    /// he established an assembly that sacked hundreds of allegedly corrupt judges, stripped Congress of its powers and rewrote the Constitution. ... But there is reason to doubt ... this accumulation of power will be used to benefit Venezuela.

    TEXT: On the issue of how best to use the unexpectedly large U-S federal budget surplus, U-S-A Today, the national daily published in a Washington, D-C suburb, criticizes George Bush's tax cut plan as:

    VOICE: ... Wastefully expensive -- and [an] odd fit for a convention night subtitled "Protecting Retirement Security." ... if there must be tax cuts, there should [be] a few easy rules: Keep them simple. Keep them cheap. Give them to those most in need.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: Finally, The [Salt Lake City, Utah] Deseret News is amazed at the latest news from the Sydney Olympics, that Australia's Olympic Committee will allow its own athletes to gamble on themselves or their rivals at the games.

    VOICE: With all of the recent investigations of alleged bribery in the Olympic family, not to mention the numerous allegations of drug-use violations, the games do not need another controversial topic like this ... it is one more distraction from the competition itself.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from the editorial pages of Wednesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 02-Aug-2000 12:30 PM LOC (02-Aug-2000 1630 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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